Hong Kong’s Jumbo Floating Restaurant, a famous yet dilapidated tourist attraction featured in Cantonese and Hollywood films, will be on Tuesday after years of revitalization efforts have gone nowhere. It was towed from the city.

The buoyant beast, 76 meters long and capable of accommodating 2,300 diners, departed shortly before noon from a typhoon shelter in southern Hong Kong Island, where it had been sitting for nearly half a century.

Designed like the Imperial Palace in China and once considered a must-see landmark, the restaurant attracted visitors to Tom Cruise from Queen Elizabeth II and several films including Steven Soderbergh’s “Infectious Diseases”. It was taken up in.

Luxury restaurant owners cite the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason they finally closed in March 2020 after about a decade of financial hardship.

Restaurant owner Melco International Development announced last month that Jumbo will leave Hong Kong and wait for a new operator in a private location prior to the expiration of its license in June.

Under the overcast sky, I saw a scattered group of spectators gather on the waterfront of Aberdeen and drag it out.

It was Mr. Wong, a 60-year-old man, who saw the remarkable progress of restaurants across the sea in the shelter. He told AFP that he had come specially to see the departure.

“The appearance has been a symbol of Hong Kong for many years,” he added, adding that he once ate in Hong Kong 20 years ago.

“I believe it will come back and I’m looking forward to it.”

Opened in 1976 by the late casino tycoon Stanley Ho, the jumbo floating restaurant embodies luxury and is said to cost more than HK $ 30 million ($ 3.8 million).

According to the South China Morning Post, it featured a Ming dynasty-style “dragon throne” and gorgeous murals.

The restaurant berth at Aberdeen Harbor has traditionally been a hotspot for seafood restaurants. When jumbo operators acquired their biggest rival, Tai Pak Floating Restaurant, in the 1980s, fierce competition for customers cooled.

The restaurant was floated by Hong Kong’s booming tourism industry, but its popularity has diminished in recent years even before the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Restaurant owner Melco said last month that the business has not been in the black since 2013 and the cumulative loss has exceeded HK $ 100 million ($ 12.7 million).

Still, it costs millions of maintenance costs each year, and about 12 companies and organizations declined the invitation to take over for free, Melco added.

In a 2020 policy address, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced plans to hand over the restaurant to a local theme park, Ocean Park, to revitalize it, but the park could find the right operator. The project failed after saying it wasn’t.

The fate of the sick restaurant was sealed a few days before Ram left the office.

As a sign of its devastation, on June 1, a jumbo kitchen vessel landed in the water at an almost 90-degree tilt after suspected hull damage.

According to local media, the abandoned kitchen ship will be left behind.

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